Summer vacation is ending for millions of preteen girls who are once again adjusting to the daily routine of classes and after- school activities. The endless days of summer fun have been replaced by early-morning bus rides and late-night homework. Many girls will also embark on an awesome new chapter as they hit puberty, and continue the journey to becoming a woman.
Start the conversations early
It’s hard to prepare for a conversation about puberty when we still think of our little girls in pigtails and pajamas. Educating your child about puberty and menstruation can take place well before your daughter begins her period. Here are some helpful tips as you listen and talk with your daughter:
- Talk one-on-one with your child in a relaxed setting - car rides to swimming practice or evening walks around the block.
- Center your discussions in an open and forthright manner so that by the time your child reaches puberty, she will have a good idea what changes to expect.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question your daughter asks, let her know you will find out and get back to her.
- Talk to your daughter about starting a journal about this exciting new chapter.
When does a period start?
The age for when a period (menstruation) begins varies, but it’s usually between the ages of 12 and 14, although some girls may start earlier or later. It normally begins within three years of when breasts begin to develop. But tell your daughter not to worry if she doesn’t begin her period at the same time as her friends; remember that everyone’s body chemistry is different. If your daughter has any concerns about starting her period, be sure to talk with a healthcare professional for advice.
Will a period come every month?
- A period may not be regular at first; it may be just a couple of days or could occur twice in one month. The first few periods may be very light with a few spots of reddish-brown blood.
- During a period, some girls experience cramping pain in the lower abdomen or back.
- A normal period is anywhere from two to seven days. It’s normal to have periods that are shorter/longer; it’s also normal to have periods that vary in length. This may be true for the first few years after a period begins.
A new class is in session
Your daughter is navigating a new path in life and this is the perfect time to help her through this wonderful passage. As her parent, you can prepare your daughter to lead her best life and cherish what it means to become a woman.
The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for healthcare by your physician.